Newsweek Disgrace: ‘Global-Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine’

Manmade global warming alarmism took a disgraceful turn for the worse this weekend when Newsweek published a lengthy cover-story repeatedly calling skeptics "deniers" that are funded by oil companies and other industries with a vested interest in obfuscating the truth.

In fact, the piece several times suggested that publishing articles skeptical of man's role in climate change is akin to misleading Americans about the dangers of smoking.

Despicably titled "Global-Warming Deniers: A Well-Funded Machine," the article painted a picture of an evil cabal whose goal is to thwart science at the detriment of the environment and the benefit of their wallets.

Worse still, the piece's many authors painted every skeptical scientific report they referred to as being part of this cabal while including absolutely no historical temperature data to prove that today's global temperatures are in any way abnormal.

Maybe most disingenuous, there wasn't one word given to how much money corporations and entities with a vested interest in advancing the alarmism are spending, or who they are. Yet, in the very first paragraph, one of the main participants in this evil cabal was identified (emphasis added throughout):

As [Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California)] left a meeting with the head of the international climate panel, however, a staffer had some news for her. A conservative think tank long funded by ExxonMobil, she told Boxer, had offered scientists $10,000 to write articles undercutting the new [IPCC] report and the computer-based climate models it is based on. "I realized," says Boxer, "there was a movement behind this that just wasn't giving up."

But that was just the beginning:

Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change. Through advertisements, op-eds, lobbying and media attention, greenhouse doubters (they hate being called deniers) argued first that the world is not warming; measurements indicating otherwise are flawed, they said. Then they claimed that any warming is natural, not caused by human activities. Now they contend that the looming warming will be minuscule and harmless. "They patterned what they did after the tobacco industry," says former senator Tim Wirth, who spearheaded environmental issues as an under secretary of State in the Clinton administration. "Both figured, sow enough doubt, call the science uncertain and in dispute. That's had a huge impact on both the public and Congress."

How utterly disgraceful. So, scientists all around the world who have devoted their lives and their careers to studying and writing about climate and related issues who don't feel man can or is impacting such are akin to folks who misled the public about the potential dangers of cigarette smoking.

How disgusting. Frankly, these "journalists" should be asked by every skeptical scientist on the planet for an immediate apology.

Sadly, as one won't likely be forthcoming, these folks were just getting warmed up with their disgraceful accusations:

"As soon as the scientific community began to come together on the science of climate change, the pushback began," says historian Naomi Oreskes of the University of California, San Diego. Individual companies and industry associations-representing petroleum, steel, autos and utilities, for instance-formed lobbying groups with names like the Global Climate Coalition and the Information Council on the Environment. ICE's game plan called for enlisting greenhouse doubters to "reposition global warming as theory rather than fact," and to sow doubt about climate research just as cigarette makers had about smoking research.

Disgusting. But it gets worse as the authors then began to personally attack prominent skeptics:

In what would become a key tactic of the denial machine-think tanks linking up with like-minded, contrarian researchers-the report was endorsed in a letter to President George H.W. Bush by MIT meteorologist Richard Lindzen. Lindzen, whose parents had fled Hitler's Germany, is described by old friends as the kind of man who, if you're in the minority, opts to be with you. "I thought it was important to make it clear that the science was at an early and primitive stage and that there was little basis for consensus and much reason for skepticism," he told Scientific American magazine. "I did feel a moral obligation."

[...]

Groups that opposed greenhouse curbs ramped up. They "settled on the 'science isn't there' argument because they didn't believe they'd be able to convince the public to do nothing if climate change were real," says David Goldston, who served as Republican chief of staff for the House of Representatives science committee until 2006. Industry found a friend in Patrick Michaels, a climatologist at the University of Virginia who keeps a small farm where he raises prize-winning pumpkins and whose favorite weather, he once told a reporter, is "anything severe." Michaels had written several popular articles on climate change, including an op-ed in The Washington Post in 1989 warning of "apocalyptic environmentalism," which he called "the most popular new religion to come along since Marxism." The coal industry's Western Fuels Association paid Michaels to produce a newsletter called World Climate Report, which has regularly trashed mainstream climate science. (At a 1995 hearing in Minnesota on coal-fired power plants, Michaels admitted that he received more than $165,000 from industry; he now declines to comment on his industry funding, asking, "What is this, a hatchet job?")

As the article moved into the Kyoto period, a key issue was conveniently ignored:

Just before Kyoto, S. Fred Singer released the "Leipzig Declaration on Global Climate Change." Singer, who fled Nazi-occupied Austria as a boy, had run the U.S. weather-satellite program in the early 1960s. In the Leipzig petition, just over 100 scientists and others, including TV weathermen, said they "cannot subscribe to the politically inspired world view that envisages climate catastrophes." Unfortunately, few of the Leipzig signers actually did climate research; they just kibitzed about other people's. Scientific truth is not decided by majority vote, of course (ask Galileo), but the number of researchers whose empirical studies find that the world is warming and that human activity is partly responsible numbered in the thousands even then. The IPCC report issued this year, for instance, was written by more than 800 climate researchers and vetted by 2,500 scientists from 130 nations.

Although Clinton did not even try to get the Senate to ratify the Kyoto treaty (he knew a hopeless cause when he saw one), industry was taking no chances.

Notice something conspicuously absent? How about the fact that on July 25, 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 on the Byrd-Hagel resolution strongly advising President Clinton to not sign the treaty?

How could such a lengthy article supposedly chronicling the history of this issue totally ignore this key vote in the Senate? Did the authors not want readers to know why America didn't ratify this treaty? How can these authors, as they repeatedly avowed that every skeptical scientist is obfuscating the truth about global warming, intentionally omit this crucial vote?

Yet, that's not all they intentionally omitted:

The GOP control of Congress for six of Clinton's eight years in office meant the denial machine had a receptive audience. Although Republicans such as Sens. John McCain, Jim Jeffords and Lincoln Chafee spurned the denial camp, and Democrats such as Congressman John Dingell adamantly oppose greenhouse curbs that might hurt the auto and other industries, for the most part climate change has been a bitterly partisan issue. Republicans have also received significantly more campaign cash from the energy and other industries that dispute climate science. Every proposed climate bill "ran into a buzz saw of denialism," says Manik Roy of the Pew Center on Climate Change, a research and advocacy group, who was a Senate staffer at the time. "There was no rational debate in Congress on climate change."

Okay. So, what happened with regard to climate change legislation during Clinton's first two years when he had a Democrat Congress?

No mention.

And, what climate change legislation was proposed by President Clinton from 1995 through 2000 that was defeated by the Republican Congress?

No mention.

And, the article conveniently ignored that under Clinton, not only were maximum highway speed limits raised, but fuel efficiency requirements, known as CAFE standards, didn't go up one tenth of one mile per gallon in Clinton's two terms.

That appears to be a truth too inconvenient for these authors to share:

The reason for the inaction was clear. "The questioning of the science made it to the Hill through senators who parroted reports funded by the American Petroleum Institute and other advocacy groups whose entire purpose was to confuse people on the science of global warming," says Sen. John Kerry. "There would be ads challenging the science right around the time we were trying to pass legislation. It was pure, raw pressure combined with false facts." Nor were states stepping where Washington feared to tread. "I did a lot of testifying before state legislatures-in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Alaska-that thought about taking action," says Singer. "I said that the observed warming was and would be much, much less than climate models calculated, and therefore nothing to worry about."

Yet, no specific legislation was addressed by Newsweek, and no roll call votes reported to inform the reader of who voted for and against such legislation.

How disgraceful.

As the article moved to a conclusion, the alarmism hit an apex:

Look for the next round of debate to center on what Americans are willing to pay and do to stave off the worst of global warming. So far the answer seems to be, not much. The NEWSWEEK Poll finds less than half in favor of requiring high-mileage cars or energy-efficient appliances and buildings. No amount of white papers, reports and studies is likely to change that. If anything can, it will be the climate itself. This summer, Texas was hit by exactly the kind of downpours and flooding expected in a greenhouse world, and Las Vegas and other cities broiled in record triple-digit temperatures. Just last week the most accurate study to date concluded that the length of heat waves in Europe has doubled, and their frequency nearly tripled, in the past century. The frequency of Atlantic hurricanes has already doubled in the last century. Snowpack whose water is crucial to both cities and farms is diminishing. It's enough to make you wish that climate change were a hoax, rather than the reality it is.

Shocking and disgraceful. After all, the media with very few exceptions are on Newsweek's side of this issue, and have been for years. If in its own poll Newsweek identified that less than half of Americans want regulations requiring high-mileage cars or energy-efficient appliances, doesn't that mean the public isn't completely buying the alarmism?

And, regardless of the supposed financing of this cabal, the Newsweek authors didn't share with their readers how and if media were being swayed by such funds.

For instance, the article had previously referenced polling data:

Just last year, polls found that 64 percent of Americans thought there was "a lot" of scientific disagreement on climate change; only one third thought planetary warming was "mainly caused by things people do." In contrast, majorities in Europe and Japan recognize a broad consensus among climate experts that greenhouse gases-mostly from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas to power the world's economies-are altering climate. A new NEWSWEEK Poll finds that the influence of the denial machine remains strong. Although the figure is less than in earlier polls, 39 percent of those asked say there is "a lot of disagreement among climate scientists" on the basic question of whether the planet is warming; 42 percent say there is a lot of disagreement that human activities are a major cause of global warming. Only 46 percent say the greenhouse effect is being felt today.

So, in Newsweek's view, this skepticism by such a large percentage of Americans is caused by the "denial machine."

But media are overwhelmingly anthropogenic global warming believers and alarmists. Whether people are watching CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, or reading the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Time, or Newsweek, they are getting a one-sided view of this issue much like this article in question.

It is one thing to argue that conservative think tanks and oil industry agents are lobbying members of Congress concerning this matter while totally ignoring the folks on the other side of the debate who are doing the exact same thing. However, as skeptical opinions are rarely included in mainstream media reports concerning global warming -- and, when they are, they're completely derided as in this piece -- it is totally preposterous to claim that the public's opinion on this matter is being impacted by the "denial machine."

Sadly, these Newsweek writers didn't see that obvious hypocrisy.

In the end, there's so much to be offended by in this piece that one article can't possibly address all the disingenuity. However, the writers of this detritus should look in the mirror as they're pointing such accusatory fingers.

After all, they're right. There is an evil cabal concerning this issue. Unfortunately, the fingers are pointing in the wrong direction, for it is indeed them who are doing everything in their power to obfuscate the truth.

In fact, these folks didn't even try to present evidence that a problem exists. Instead, they just attacked those who questioned what might be the root cause of the past century's rise in average global temperatures, and whether man can do anything to reverse such assuming it's even a real concern.

And this is what passes for journalism at Newsweek today. How sad.

*****Update: Another juicy hypocrisy. In this article, the authors mocked skeptics using current climate events to disprove global warming:

ICE ads asked, "If the earth is getting warmer, why is Minneapolis [or Kentucky, or some other site] getting colder?"

Yet, this was in their concluding paragraph:

This summer, Texas was hit by exactly the kind of downpours and flooding expected in a greenhouse world, and Las Vegas and other cities broiled in record triple-digit temperatures.

Hmmm. So, when skeptics point to current climate events as disproving global warming, it's a tactic of the "denial machine." But, when alarmists do the same thing, it's just good reporting.

Just another example of the motto of these folks: Do As I Say, Not As I Do!

 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.